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Here at LittyHOOPS, one thing is for certain.  We live and die by the Red Storm.  Right now, as the 2002-2003 college basketball season is about to kick off, the oxygen is aplenty.  Led by the most underrated player in the country, and my dark horse for Player of the Year, Marcus Hatten, we expect St. John’s to turn a few heads this season and come March be dancing for awhile…  

Ambiguous Storm Warning In Effect

As the Johnnies enter conference play Mike Jarvis and his band of ballers are scratching their bald spots and their dread locks.  The run-and-gun unselfish offense that would be propelled by a newly implemented full court press has yet to show up at Alumni Hall or the Garden.  Instead, the Red Storm are clanking shots, turning the ball over and relying heavily on Marcus Hatten.

It often seems as though Hatten is taking on the other team all by his lonsome. Never fear, all he needs to score is a basketball, a backboard, and a few chumps to put their hand in his face.

A schedule that was easier then a 42nd street hooker masked the lack of early season chemistry.  Hofstra, Fairfield, Stoney Brook, St. Francis and Fordham couldn’t beat half the high school teams in the city.  St. John’s could have had a sixth victory but the Parsons School of Art forfeited after they realized that hoops weren’t ear rings and baskets weren’t weaved.

The Storm faced their first true test when they traveled to Winston Salem to face Wake Forest. A year ago, the Johnnies beat the Deacons at the Garden as the “Marcus Hatten Show” made its first appearance on Broadway.  Hatten exploded in the second half, swishing shots from all over the court in route to a game high 29 points in an upset of Wake.

SJU Red Storm
 Record: 7-3 (1-0)

1/8   @ Providence
1/11 @ UCLA

Team Leaders
Player PPG Reb Asst
Hatten 21.6 6.6 3.2
Ingram 12.2 1.9 2.7
Glover 10.6 6.4 1.0
Shaw 10.1 3.3 1.7

The Hatten Show was once again splendid leading the Johnnies with 26, but he received little help as his teammates were out rebounded, out hustled and outplayed.  So their goes the perfect season as Wake pulled away in the second half and won 84-72.

Next up came the ECAC (if you know what that stands for let me know) Holiday Festival that ended as a Holiday disaster.  For the second straight season St. John’s fell to Manhattan 72-65 (Don’t they realize they are supposed to kill the damn Jaspers).  The Consolation was a game against #23 North Carolina and another loss 63-59.  

Get a load of these numbers for the weekend; 31% FG’s, 56% from the line and 25% from downtown.  The usually reliable Hatten was a combined 11-38.  The only bright spot was over 20 offensive rebounds in both games.

So there you have the ugly. St. John’s can throw the ball out of bounds, and can even catch it off the backboard, but can’t place it in the basket.

After the three game slide the Storm came back in a sleepwalk over Niagra, and then beat a no talent Seton Hall team 76-68 at the Garden to open Big East play.  The game was dominated by Hatten who scored 31, to go along with 10 boards, 5 dishes, 4 picks, and an assortment of smiles, grins, and airballs.

In the eyes of this eternal optimist of a fan, the Storm’s problems are correctable and they have shown potential to be successful.  Freshman Elijah Ingram (13.2 ppg, 40% 3pg.) has now got his feet wet and hopefully will improve throughout the season.  Ingram and Hatten have not meshed, and when Ingram controls the ball Hatten seems to basically stand around and pick his nose. All Ingram needs to do is remember the following two things.

1)     Pass to Marcus
2)     Shoot that herky-jerky-set-shot-skyball jumper when your open

Marcus has to keep on being Marcus.  We’re talking 20-25 shots a game, and the ball needs to be in his hand in clutch possessions. Willie Shaw has been effective since returning to the lineup and no longer resembles the African midget version of Shawn Bradley.

When Shaw is open his jumper will fall Big Willie style.  Don't mention Anthony Glover because he gets worse by the season. The rest of the team has to continue playing like the bunch of rag tag city hustlers that they are and always will be.

So here’s to the Johnnies coming out in 2003 with jumpers that go swish, passes that are caught, tip-ins that go in, and dreads that stay tight.

Other St. John's articles
12/1/02     Red Storm Primed to Make Their Marcus




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